Welcome to the supporters, players, staff and directors of Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club to Selhurst Park for today’s match, and of course – to each and every Palace fan behind Roy’s team.
Last week was a very successful one with wins over Leicester City and Burnley away from home. Of course the loss to an excellent Manchester United side in between those two victories was tough to take, but to take six points from those games is a great return and certainly eases the pressure on us. It was particularly pleasing to win at Burnley with Roy having made five changes, and just shows the strength in depth of this squad.
We now go into another set of pivotal games and I know Roy and the players are focused - it certainly doesn’t hurt that we have our fiercest rivals and then a chance of a cup semi-final at stake.
Today’s match is a fantastic occasion for everyone lucky enough to be inside this stadium. It is a great rivalry, one that both clubs enjoy – even if it’s a head-scratcher for the rest of the football world. The distance between our clubs is 42 miles and whilst we are surrounded by London clubs, technically we are the closest Premier League team for Brighton geographically. But this one is about more than the mileage - it's a proper rivalry that stems from fierce competition on the pitch.
Brighton got the better of us at the AMEX this season, so there is added motivation to get a result today, in this, the 101st meeting between the sides. With so much to play for in this Premier League season, I hope it lives up to expectations – especially with the eyes of the world on us today as a major television selection.
It’s amazing to note that we’re ranked sixth in the league table for our results on the road this season. I agree with Roy that our home form isn’t necessarily a fair reflection of the performances that the team has put in, but points are points – and the reality is, we haven’t secured enough of them at Selhurst Park this season. A win today would certainly help redress the balance.
Last season’s game was a crazy affair with a 3-2 win courtesy of a Wilf brace and James Tomkins’ strike. It came out as your most enjoyable win in a recent poll, although our recent win at Manchester City might top it for many!
I won’t get the chance to speak to you before Watford away, but we’ve been restricted to 3,000 which is a great shame as we could have sold many, many more. I know the 3,000 will sound like 5,000 as we aim to get to Wembley and another great occasion for all of us.
Last but certainly not least congratulations to Jeffrey Schlupp on winning February’s ManBetX Player of the Month award, voted by the fans. Jeffrey has given us some outstanding performances and scored important goals, and he’s always a positive force around the club. Everyone is pleased for him, and long may it continue.
Let’s turn up the noise as much as possible today, and show the world the very best of Selhurst Park.
Up The Palace!
To read Parish's notes alongside Roy Hodgson and Luka Milivojevic's, interviews with Joel Ward, The Kooks' Luke Pritchard and David Payne on top of all the usual stats, columns, reports and facts, make sure to grab an official Palace programme today around the outside of Selhurst Park. Alternatively, you can purchase a digital version below!